SWAT team takes over MCC campus for State Patrol exercise

Friday, July 18, 2008
A Nebraska State Patrol team takes aim during Wednesday's exercise. (McCook Daily Gazette)

The terrible specter of school violence hangs fog-like over recent years. The deadly shootings at high schools and on college campuses will never be quite out of the national mindset.

With that threat still carrying such horrible weight, educational institutions have enacted more security procedures than ever before. Wednesday, McCook Community College was the scene for a training drill by a Nebraska State Patrol SWAT team. Both the law enforcement officers and school officials intent on not only planning for the worst, but working for the best.

This was the first time that the 10-member team had ever drilled on the campus, but not because the administration had opposed previous offers. Michelle Gill, who worked as the liaison for the activities, said that the college was "pleased that the State Patrol spoke with them."

She added that from their standpoint, having the team train in their buildings "was a win-win situation," because it would give the administration, faculty and staff of the college a chance to study their internal security situations and determine if any improvements were needed.

For their part, the SWAT team members, who train 16 hours a month at locations throughout the Troop Area, have a chance to identify issues within their own procedures, and provide advice to the school personnel.

A State Patrol investigator, who spoke to the Gazette minutes before the drill commenced, said that while the team has been able to train at grade schools and high schools, this opportunity to use the college campus would give them new scenarios and environments to consider.

He also said that the exercises would be based on "active and non-active shooter" situations.

The drills were concluded within two hours, and regular activities on the campus were not interrupted or disturbed, according to Ms. Gill. School officials will meet with team members to discuss findings at a later date.

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